Marriage Missions International

Why Some Spouses Give Up

The following story is a parable meant to be used as an imaging tool. It’s not meant to give a spouse, who is ready to give up on a marriage, an excuse to do so. It can however, give the abandoned spouse a better understanding as to why their spouse may have decided to leave their marriage when they did.

More importantly however, this parable is meant to be used as a “wake-up call” to those spouses who are asleep to the fact that they’ve been neglecting their family. And if they don’t come to that realization and do something to drastically reverse their neglectful behavior immediately —they may wake up one morning to find themselves alone without a family to care for and spend time with.

Read the following edited story with an open mind and heart as to what the author Andy Stanley is trying to tell those who think their family should keep understanding why they spend so much time away from them. Pastor Stanley writes:

Use your imagination for just a moment. Imagine that your best friend walks up to you in your front yard one Saturday and asks you to do him a favor. You have some free time, and so you agree to do it. He walks over to his car, opens the trunk, and produces a thirty-pound rock.

Now here’s where you’re really going to have to use your imagination: At this point he hands you the rock and says, “I really need you to stand here with this rock until I return.” He explains why it’s important that you stand in that one spot with the rock and promises to return shortly to retrieve it. It’s a strange request, and his explanation doesn’t make a lot of sense, but this is someone you trust, so you agree. At this point he thanks you with extreme gratitude and then gets into his car and drives away.

An hour goes by. And what started out as a reasonable favor is beginning to get a little hard. But after all, this is your best friend, so you resign yourself to continue on and stand there. Another hour goes by and your arms are starting to ache. Everything in you wants to sit down, but you made a promise. Then suddenly, to your relief, your friend pulls in the driveway, jumps out of the car, and runs in your direction. You’re so relieved. If you weren’t holding the rock, you’d hug him.

But your joy is quickly crushed. Instead of relieving you of your burden he says, “I told you I was coming right back. But I need to run one more quick errand. If you’ll keep holding the rock, I’ll make it up to you when I return.” Once again, you trust that what you’re told is true. If your friend needs to run one more errand before relieving you that is just the way it is. So you agree. As he turns to go you can’t help but yell out, “Please hurry.” Off your friend goes and there you stand.

Another hour goes by. The sun begins to set. Your muscles are aching to be able to drop the rock. But you refuse to give in. You’re committed to holding up your part of what you promised. Besides, your friend said he’d make it up to you. You aren’t sure what that means, but it must be something good. Thirty minutes later a car pulls up in the driveway. Someone you don’t know is driving. This person walks over and informs you that your friend has been delayed. “Would you mind holding the rock for just a little while longer?” he asks.

You experience a mixture of pain and anger. You manage to mutter, “Just tell him to hurry.”

Away the person goes and there you stand. It’s dark now. The streets are empty. The neighbors are at their windows watching you stand there, wondering why you’d put up with being treated like that by a “friend.”

Another hour goes by. You begin to lose your grip. Your arms begin to fall. You tell yourself to hold on, but your body just won’t respond. Down goes the rock. And just as it hits the pavement and breaks into a hundred pieces, your friend pulls up in the driveway. He jumps out of the car, runs over with a look of panic on his face, and says, “What happened? Did it slip? Did somebody knock it out of your hands? Did you change your mind?” And as he looks for an explanation as to why you suddenly dropped the rock, you know that it was a long time coming.

Now let me explain what happened in terms that will help us later on. Your mental willingness was overcome by your physical exhaustion. You wanted to do what you were asked to do, but after awhile you just couldn’t do it anymore. Add to that the frustration of being misled about how long you’d have to stand there. But even if the aggravation is put aside, at some point you just weren’t going to be able to keep holding on. No amount of love, dedication, commitment, or selflessness was going to be able to make up for the fact that your arms were worn out.

Now, let’s add another element to that story: You’re about to pass out from exhaustion. And finally a car pulls up in the driveway. You’re so angry and in so much pain you know you’ll have to choose your words carefully. Sure enough, it’s your friend. He walks over slowly with one hand behind his back. He forces a smile and says, “I brought you something.”

Suddenly he brings out from behind his back a bouquet of flowers. At that point you don’t just drop the rock; you find within yourself just enough strength to throw it at him! As he ducks, he exclaims, “What was that all about? I bought you flowers, didn’t I?”

Now, I probably don’t need to apply my little parable. The meaning is pretty obvious. So at the risk of insulting your intelligence, let me be painfully specific:

• When we ask our husbands and wives to carry their load as well as ours, it’s like handing them a rock.

• When we’re absent at critical junctures in family life, they’re left holding the rock.

• When we find ourselves pointing to the future to somehow make up for the past and the present, they’re holding the rock.

• When we assure our families that things are going to change and they don’t, they’re holding the rock.

The interesting thing is that they always accept it. And why not? They love us. They trust us. Besides, we always reassure them that they’ll only have to hold it for a short time.

Everybody is willing to be “understanding” when a loved one needs to neglect the family as a top priority for a reasonable period of time. And in real life, taking time away from the family because of job responsibilities is sometimes unavoidable. But when they’re left to carry a load of neglect they were never created to carry in the first place—it’s just a matter of time before things will begin to unravel.

There’s a point at which that mental willingness isn’t enough to hang on. With a literal rock, mental willingness is eventually overcome by physical exhaustion. With an imaginary rock, mental willingness is eventually overtaken by emotional exhaustion. And when that happens, the rocks come tumbling down.

There’s always a final straw: a comment, a phone call, a tired explanation, a no-show, a forgotten birthday, or a missed game. Some little thing that pushes those we love past their ability to hold on. And to the uniformed, unsuspecting spouse —to the husband or wife who has lived with the fantasy that everything is just fine-it seems like a huge overreaction. They think: ”All I said was.” ”All I did was.”

But it wasn’t the moment. It wasn’t the phone call. It wasn’t the fact that the big hand on the clock was on the six instead of the twelve. It was weeks, months, or possibly years of waiting for things to change. The rock finally slipped out of their calloused hands.

When the rock drops, you’ll do everything in your power to pick it up and piece it back together. You’ll find the time to devote to fixing the problem. But in my experience, when the rock drops, there is always some permanent damage. Most rocks can’t be put back together again.

Do you know what your family wants from you more than anything else? They want to feel accepted. In practical terms, they want to feel like they are your priority.

“But they are my priority,” you might argue. That may be true. They may be your priority in your heart, but that’s not the point. They want to feel like your priority. It’s not enough for them to be your priority. They must feel like it.

I’ll never forget discussing this point with a very busy corporate vice president. He kept assuring me of how much he loved his wife and kids. Finally I interrupted him and said, “The problem is, you love your family in your heart, but you don’t love them in your schedule. They can’t see your heart —they only know your schedule.”

Keep in mind that the chief indicator to your family of where you place your loyalty is time. It’s what you put on our calendar. Where you spend your time is an indication of where your loyalties lie. In effect, you pledge your allegiance to the person or thing that receives your time.

Are there time-consuming bridges you need to burn? Are there accounts at work you need to hand off? Are there some out-of-town meetings that need to be handled on the phone? Is there an offer you need to refuse? A promotion you need to give back? Once you’ve made up your mind to make your family more of a priority, it will become all too clear what stands in the way of your being able to focus on your commitment to re-prioritize.

So what is your non-negotiable? What does it look like? Does it mean leaving the office everyday at 5:30, regardless? Does it mean never missing one of your children’s performances or ball games? What does the commitment look like in your world?

Again promising to do “better” won’t get it. You’ve already done that. That terminology doesn’t even register with your family. They’ve heard that before.

The above article came from the book, When Work and Family Collide: Keeping Your Job from Cheating Your Family written by Andy Stanley, published by Multnomah Publishers. As Dr John Maxwell says about this book (which we agree): ”This is a life-changing book and extremely relevant to our modern way of life. Author Andy Stanley confronts us with truth and transparency. Just as he had made a commitment in his own life to balance his family time with his work, he encourages us to make similar commitments. One of the main reasons it is life changing is because a godly man who makes choices in his own life to never sacrifice his family for success has written it. If he wins the world but loses his family, what has he gained? Every couple, every parent, and every leader needs to read this book and consider the question: Who wins when my family and work collide?” This book presents a strategic plan for resolving the tension between work and home. You’ll find ways to deal with the busyness that wreaks havoc with the relationships you consider most important.”

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Comments

45 Responses to “Why Some Spouses Give Up”
  1. Ali says:

    (USA)  What do you do when your spouse comes back once in a while (only when you’re already angry) to help carry the rock for two seconds then runs off again when you’re no longer angry and you think they’re staying a while to help? I can no longer trust my spouse to help me with our marriage. I am left to do it all by myself as they do not stay long enough to do any real/lasting work. I am at a loss as to what to do next with three kids and and a spouse who, for all intents and purposes, is still a child too.

  2. Keith says:

    (USA)  My spouse states she loves her family yet spends more time in thought and with her family on the phone worrying about back home instead of the day to day routine of our household. I’ve practically taken over the cooking, washing and cleaning, all the while working 10-12 hours a day on a demanding job of which I had to quit to ensure home was taken care of. I’m exhausted.

    She constantly reminds me that we should sell everything and move back “home” which is obviously where her heart is. This has dragged on for 4 years now and I’m ready to let her go to wherever her heart is content.

  3. Mike says:

    (USA)  This article really hit home for me. I had the perfect marriage with my beautiful wife. She was the most amazing, kind, loving person that I have ever met. She did so much for me that I was able to really grow in my career and become very successful. I thought I had the perfect marriage. Then when she left I didn’t understand. To me it was completely out of the blue. I was oblivious to the facts.

    Looking back there were so many warning signs. I was so focused on ME and though I love her with all my heart, I didn’t show her. So many times I left her holding the rock! She was in so much pain and I had no idea. Now I see and I have changed, I am here for her. But she says her heart is not with me anymore. At this point I just don’t know what to do.

    • Jim says:

      (USA)  Mike, I am literally right in the middle of that same kind of situation with my wife after 20 years. She tells me that we have been more like good old friends than husband and wife. Over the years she has shared her feeling for more verbal affection and sweetheart hugs. But it now appears that I didn’t have enough compassion for my wife and missed several warning signs also… only to reference limited conversation, eating alone, and relaxing in separate parts of now a COLD house.

      Although, my wife still loves me but is no longer in love with me… her heart is broken and I waited too long before I saw the light. I hope that time will bring us back closer together to focus on one another. I am hopeful that your situation will get better. Any suggestions?

      • Lee says:

        (USA)  Jim, Mike, man the only thing good that came out of this parable for me is that others are in the same boat as me. I’m not saying I wish losing a loved one on anybody but I realize how wide spread this is knowing others have gone through it. And like you guys said, the warning signs are always there but I was too selfish to see them. I hope there’s a happy ending for everybody involved. I pray.

        • Baebette from United States says:

          My husband of 25 years and 3 adult teenagers has filed for divorce. It hasn’t been a great marriage for the past 5 or 6 years but I NEVER thought he would do this. I have encouraged (begged actually) for him and I to go to counseling but he refused. He had to go out of state for a job and is living and working elsewhere. I have tried to call him to talk to him, to no avail. I just cannot believe this is real! What happened to what I thought was my BEST FRIEND AND PARTNER FOR LIFE? I am devastated and can’t even accomplish the simplest tasks!

          • Don't Know Anymore from United States says:

            Babette, you are speaking my story. Just wondering what the circumstances of your marriage are now? My husband dropped the bombshell on me 2 weeks ago that he doesn’t love me, hasn’t for as long as he can remember, possibly our entire 17 years together, and says we are miserable and unhappy and divorce is the only way out.

            He says I am the one so unhappy and he cannot do anything more to help me. He says the anniversary card he wrote to me 2 months ago, that was amazing and loving, doesn’t prove anything. He says my text to my mom 3 weeks ago about how we are having hard times but that our marriage is solid and kids are happy and that is all that matters as we can get through anything else – he says that is “lip service” and means nothing. He says it is for the sake of our 3 young children, they are miserable and will be happier once we are divorced.

            I’m blindsided and shocked and unsure how to even handle this. And that doesn’t even factor in the issue that this all began when I questioned him about his time with a co-worker and he asked for a divorce 3 days later. He is adamant nothing happened and nothing is happening and refuses to look at maybe an emotional attachment to her. He is a good man and I’m sure nothing physical happened, but she certainly opened up his eyes as to the grass being greener I guess. My initial questioning about her was as to why he would spend 2 hours hanging out and talking to her when he doesn’t talk to me at home. I never expected that response :(

            The amount of stress he is carrying is enormous but he has completely shut me out and is actually callous and mean these past 2 weeks. Once he announced it, he became a completely different man and not the one I love and cherish.

            Just wondering where you are at in your marriage now?

    • Adam says:

      (USA) Same thing is happening to me. Can you tell me what has happened since? I’m going through a separation right now and I’m lost as to what to do. My wife left me 2 months ago and she says she feels nothing for me. So I don’t know if I should leave her alone or keep trying to get her back.

      • Christian says:

        (USA) Adam, I have been asking myself that same question for the past week. I dread the thought of letting it drag on and on. I want to decide whether I let her go, or I try to win her back.

        I think the problem is that they feel like we have already let them go and they don’t want us to try and win them back. We did permanent damage that we can no longer fix. The sad truth is that it is up to them to figure things out on their own. They view us trying to make things right at this point selfish since we had our chance already and we didn’t put in the effort. Once they get tired of us, they won’t allow themselves to be placed in that situation again. Like is said at the end of the parable, they register that things will be “better”. I know it is hard because I want nothing more than to demonstrate that THIS time things WILL BE BETTER. However, since it took a long time for them to break, it will probably take longer for them to heal. We can’t live this time in regret waiting for the moment we get our chance because we may never get it. It is time to think about fixing ourselves and identifying why our rocks weigh so much. If they grow to want to open their hearts to us in the future (for a second time), then we have to be prepared already living a life that they want to live with us. They are looking for a second chance, but with a new personality. If we want it to be us, we have to establish and live with our new personalities right now during our separation. What hurts is that even so, they may choose someone else.

        I feel like a hypocrite right now because just yesterday I exposed my epiphany of wanting to change my life and be better. Of course, she grew angry since she requested space to figure things out on her own. I may have dug my own grave in that aspect, so now more than ever I have to come to terms with just moving in with my life and being a dad. I won’t be searching for someone else, but I won’t close off if it happens. We just have to take things slow and do things right if we do find anyone else. My prayers are with my wife and the future of our family together and I hope God can help her find her way. I will always be in love with her, but I no longer want to control her and cause her pain.

        That is why I am glad that this site is available. It helps to talk to others and I support everyone here during their time in these circumstances.

        • Robert says:

          (USA) Your comments ring very true to my situation. I have been separated almost three years now. I had an affair 6 years earlier and hurt my wife deeply. After 3 years of occasionally seeing a girl in China on business trips, it ended, but not before the damage was done to my 30 year marriage.

          Now she has decided she has had enough and wants a divorce. Our marriage had issues but I think it was good. We grew a business together, produced 2 great sons and have houses in Hawaii and Colorado. We were close but we’re both workaholics and grew apart. I want to try again and mend the hurt. She only gets angrier the harder I try. I have given her a dozen red roses every week for over 2 years. I cook dinners and take care of her house. She wells up tears in her eyes when I try to talk with her about our marriage, but she insists it’s over. She has a whole new circle of friends and rejects all family ties. She is carrying around a lot of hurt and anger. She is dating to look for Mr right.

          What you said rings true. If there is going to be a second chance it must come from her. I have exhausted all attempts at reconciling. Marriage counseling was a hate bash against my bad behavior and produced nothing, though I still go every week by myself. She needs time to heal and sort things out. But she is as angry now as three years ago. I fear I will give up and that will end our 36 years of marriage.

          You’re right though; it’s in her hands now as she travels this road in her life. I can only wait, pray for our family to reunite, and let God’s plan for us continue. I love her dearly, but if I must let her go so she can find happiness, then I will, though in my heart she will always be my wife. I don’t believe in divorce.

        • Jen from United States says:

          “They are looking for a second chance, but with a new personality. If we want it to be us, we have to establish and live with our new personalities right now during our separation.” Christian – you hit the nail on the head. Pursuing your spouse but only offering them the “same old, same old” is not going to work. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Anonymous says:

    (UNITED STATES)  My husband asked me to leave… that we were going to go through a separation and assurred me it was not the end but the beginning. He put me in a rental car, and had me drive 2200 miles back to my moms and was left holding a rock of trying to figure out what I had done wrong for him to make me leave. He only called to keep me holding the rock… said I was not to blame but then accused me of doing the most horrible thing.

    I am dropping the rock because I am too exhausted to emotionally carry him and me… and he is really vague about the reason why he made me leave but think I know now… figured it out while I was left holding on to a rock that was never meant for me to hold onto so I’m letting it go and filing for divorce.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      My guess would be that infidelity is involved. I could be wrong. I hope I am. But I’ve heard of this type of behavior before and another person has always been involved in some way (whether emotionally, physically, or both). So sorry for the pain you are suffering. May the Lord help, guide and comfort you through this awful ordeal.

      • Anynomous says:

        (UNITED STATES)  My husband says it is because it was for his childrens sake now I am not so sure..if it was another woman ..I don’t know but know he has been with another woman since our separation. The emotional suffering I have had to endure because of this because he refuses to take any real accountability. He says he’s sorry but then he puts me down and tells me how I was responsible for everything.

        The rock is on it’s way to busting into irreplacable pieces on the ground..he has blown any ounce of trust we needed to build our relationship on with his dishonesty and I have reason to believe he is having an affair with his co-worker.

        This I found out before having to undergo a major surgery. Instead of coming to see me he was out with her. When I confronted him as to why she answered his phone he acted as he was more concerned for her feelings than with mine!

        This is something his first wife did to him so I don’t understand why he would treat me with such cruelty. But he wanted his life back with no guilt feelings because he acts as if he has no remorse whatsoever for what he has done to me.

        I have no intention of dating for awhile – just need to put this whole nightmare behind me and maybe one day meet the man God truly intended for me to be with…thanks Cindy…many blessings.

        • Anonymous says:

          (UNITED STATES) I completely dropped the rock and was so exhausted. The divorce went through and now I’m feeling more worse than before. I wanted so much to make a life with a man I fell completely in love with but it is over with now. My advice to anyone considering a separation is to please give love a chance. Do not be afraid to say I am sorry or even talk to a marriage counselor if needed. It is not worth listening to the lie that it may work out because separation is the lie the devil uses to separate a man and wife and put them on a path to divorce.

          It has not been easy to work through my feelings of inadequacy and low self esteem as a result of everything. I went through with the divorce because I thought it was what he wanted. Just saying, do not just walk away from a marriage because of hard times. Working it out together is better than throwing in the towel. It was what I wanted, to work things out… but I was asked to leave and there was not much I could do because my ex-husband’s mind and heart was already made up.

          I still love him. I just messed up so bad and he cannot see how hurt this has made me. He says he is numb inside and that hurts me more than words can say… that loving and losing the person you know you were meant to be with, yet they brush it off… that really hurts. I’m still processing my emotions and feelings from the divorce. Please keep me in prayer. I know that through this God is using this to bring me closer to Him. Even though my heart is in pain and turmoil I am trusting in God to see me through this and heal my broken heart.

  5. Joy says:

    (UNITED STATES)  I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and married for 3 years today. I came to the website to find some type of validation for my feelings. I’m broken. When I read this article it made everything I was feeling make sense. I’ve tried hard as can and all that I know to try to make this marriage work. I’m exhausted literally, and I cannot carry the weight anymore.

    We have 2 kids together and 2 from our previous relationships. It kills me to know what leaving him will do to our children. Today was our anniversary and he thought it was more important to play basketball until 9 pm with his family than to spend this special day with his wife. Then he had the nerve to say I ruined his day because I decided to leave and take myself out to eat. This was the last straw for me. I’ve dealt with so much. How do I walk away from my marriage?

  6. Matt says:

    (USA) I completely understand this story. I am recently divorced after a 3.5 year marriage. She left 2 days after Christmas in 2010. I was and still am broken, but working hard on trying to get past it and move on. Sometime after we were married my wife stopped working and a few months after that we were pregnant with our son. I was left with working 60 hour work weeks between 3 jobs to keep a roof over our head, clothes on our backs and food on our table.

    My wife wanted to be a stay at home mom with our son which I was perfectly ok with but work weeks grew longer because I was doing everything, cooking, cleaning, wash, food shopping, and giving her the breaks she needed. All that work and never getting a chance to relax and enjoy my son along with a battle with my daughter’s (previous relationship) mother made me so angry that I completely shut down and whatever came out of my mouth wasn’t nice but I never thought about leaving. Just thought I was in a phase that would pass on by.

    Well it did when she left. My world was destroyed. All I ever wanted was a family and I lost it. I started therapy right away, mainly to find out what happen to me and to get my family back. Has it helped? Yes. Did she come back? No. She was stuck and still is stuck on that it is all my fault and it seems nothing will change her mind. So when you are burdened with carrying the rock, you focus on holding that rock that you miss everything else.

    If there are those who are thinking about leaving with children involved just consider this -If you go through a divorce and get 50% custody you lose out of 50% of your kids. Every other Christmas morning, every other birthday. It has been almost 18 months since she has left and I have missed 9 months of my son’s life. So just make sure you ask yourself, have I really done everything I can do to save my marriage? Just my suggestion.

  7. Brenda says:

    (USA) With all the pain in my heart, I am ready to let the rock crushes. I am so tired. I have been married for the last five years and my husband constantly neglects us. He does not provide for us and it is killing me. First it was softly, and now I cannot handle it anymore. For the last five years, he worked for two different companies, without a base salary, just under commissions and the money was ever enough, no even enough to pay for gas.

    After a while and he got fired for his lack of commitment. During that time my mother in law was not just providing for us, she was taking all the major decisions in our house, constantly in the middle of our marriage, causing a lot of stress and a lot of troubles. She was the head of our family instead of my husband. Everytime that I opened my mouth to complain, the promises of my husband that everything would be all right were the silence of my soul. To try to help, I gave my husband the best of me, full of encouraging words, and of course money that from time to time my family sent, also my jewerly, everything that was into my hands to make his responsabilities less. However, now I can see clearly that I was not helping him. I was supporting his weak pattern… this pattern of expecting that someone else could fix the problem instead of him.

    Now, after my mother in law is not into our lives anymore (a battle that caused me more than five years and millions of tears), he has been without a job for more than 8 months. We are behind in our mortgage for more than 3. I am so scared to be kick off with my two kids, with a pile of bills. He has not been paying child support for his previous marriage (almost 6,000) and the list goes on and on.

    I just finished my GED and thank God I have the opportunity to go to college to study nursing (everything paid off due scholarship and pell grant). After my husband saw the opportunity in front of me, he wants to go to study nursing too. However, because he cannot apply for a scholarship or a grant (he already has a marketing degree) he wants me to apply for a grant of US $60,000.00 so he could go to college too and to pay for the housing expenses. I am quite sure that if I do it, it is also the perfect excuse for him not to work. I don’t want to make the hole bigger. Please pray for me, I don’t know what to do. Maybe I will drop off my dream to go to college to have a better life for my children and be back into my country. I am exhausted. I am so devastated. I just want to give up.

    • Cindy Wright says:

      Brenda, From what I read (both from what you wrote and what I believe I’m reading in between the lines), I believe you AND your husband have had your dreams crushed and are trying to survive in the best way you know how. But in that survival mode, you have gone and are going in different directions. That doesn’t mean that you can’t still get on the same page, but right now, you are approaching matters in different ways.

      I’m glad that you did not fall into the spell permanently, as far as allowing your mother in law to continue to control you, financially, or otherwise. That took courage. Whether she meant well or not, she obviously became a controlling person under the circumstances and your husband did the ostrich thing. He hid his head (probably in shame and in defeat) and didn’t face what he should have. Many spouses will do that. They will take the path of least resistance. The strongest among us will not succumb to that. We will eventually take a stand and find a way out –even if it is a tougher road to travel. Some stumble for a time, but then eventually, they stand, all the stronger.

      I have a feeling that your husband, while he may have many, many good points about him, is not one who is usually strong in the stands he makes. When he feels beaten down he has a tendency to lay there in defeat rather than keep keeping on (which his lack of being able to make a good living could have contributed to it because most men seem to associate who they are with the job they work and how much they are able to make). You and I may not be able to understand that, because while we can get down at times, we will eventually stand again and continue fighting because we know that’s what we should do. That doesn’t mean that your husband doesn’t have good qualities, but he obviously (at least up to this point) has succumbed to thinking that the only way he can support his family is to allow others to do it for him. That’s sad.

      I congratulate you on getting your GED. And I encourage you to not let go of your dream of studying nursing, or whatever it is that you can study for so you can help your family get out of this “gimme” type of existence from relatives and the government. Even if it means that you have to take money in the form of grants and scholarships for a while in order to get to that place, I hope you will consider it. If your husband can go to school too, at the same time, it may give him the push start that he needs. But just make sure that you don’t do anything illegal, in order to make that happen. And if he doesn’t do anything with the opportunity, you are not accountable for that; he is. Just do what you need to do to help your family, but don’t lord it over his head. He just may need some extra help to see the light, through the dark hole that you’ve been living in lately.

      I don’t know your husband. I don’t know if he is a perpetual taker, or if that is more of a circumstantial thing lately. But pray for God to help you to do what is right and what will best help your family get on a better financial footing. Don’t be your husband’s judge in all of this. Instead, apply the “duck principle.” It’s something I learned years ago that I’ve applied in my marriage. The “Duck Principle” …no, I’m not talking about the “quack, quack” kind of animal, it’s something you DO in ducking out of the way so God Himself has the opportunity to talk, instead of you. I discovered that as long as I stood over my husband flapping my mouth at him, saying things that I thought he needed to hear (yet he was closing his ears to it) I was standing in the way of what God could do or say to change Steve’s heart over the matter. I needed to pray and then DUCK in how I was posturing myself in my husband’s life. With me out of the way, God had full access to him. It’s amazing how liberating and how wise this is. I’m no longer responsible, God is.

      Does this mean that I’m never to talk to my husband and “let God do all the talking instead?” No. But there is a season for everything …as the Bible says there is, “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” The thing is that you and I have to know what season is what. Sometimes you speak and sometimes you allow God to do the talking and you DUCK. Even if the end result isn’t what you think would be best, it does no good to keep investing your energies in something you’re supposed to leave alone and instead trust God for. If changes need to be made on either of your parts, then it’s best to yield to the Lord’s directing instead of yours. After all, He IS God and you are not.

      I encourage you to do this, as far as what’s happening with your husband’s unemployment (unless God tells you otherwise). Pray for your husband, duck, and focus on what YOU need to, so you’re headed in a more positive direction. Don’t give up. Stand up and do what needs to be done. Someone needs to be the hero in this family for this season of your life. And even though you are tired, you still need to press on. Pray for added strength. I pray that for you too, and for wisdom, discernment and help. May it be that God blesses you and your family, wakes up your husband, and helps him to do what he should do, as well.

      • Brenda says:

        (USA) Cindy, I don’t have enough words to thank you for EVERYTHING! With your words and with your prayers, you are giving me more courage to keep going! With God’s help everything is possible.

        My marriage right now is on jeopardy. He left this morning, just after I wrote you asking for help. Certainly, by now, he is with his mama. As I mentioned before, he wants me to sign for the school loan (sorry I typed grant! such a huge difference!) even if my college education is already paid. I don’t want to make the hole bigger, and later I don’t want to be worrying to death, planning where the money will come from. Right now our debt is more than $150K.

        I arrived to this marriage without any debt, and later on, oh such a big surprise, he told me the truth about his financial situation. So I don’t want to put my kids on risk. So if he wants to go to school, he will have to find the way to do it. I don’t want to sound selfish, but unfortunately my husband has been “taker” his entire life. I will help him but without putting myself between the sword and the wall. Thank you once again, I will go to college; just pray for me.

        • Cindy Wright says:

          Brenda, I’m so sorry for what you are going through and that your husband decided to jump ship. Now that you have clarified that your husband wants you to take out an additional loan (rather than a grant), even though your schooling is paid for, I agree that I would not do this either. He has not shown himself to be fully invested in your marriage and in helping to pay down the debt that is now hanging over your head. I wouldn’t make your debt that much deeper. If he is wanting to come back into your lives, go to school and help the family get into the black again, he will need to reconsider his actions and will do what it takes to make it happen.

          Be careful to try to keep his dignity in tact, to the best of your ability and concentrate more on what YOU need to do, rather than what he should be doing –with, or without the help of his “mama.” You are a courageous woman, with good motives, to get your family out of debt, and to make sure that all are taken care of. I have no doubt that as tough as it is to be a mom and go to college with tough studies ahead of you, you will succeed and your children will be proud of you. I hope your husband will be, as well (and that he will man-up and help out). May God bless you in this mission.

    • Libby says:

      (USA) My dear sister, I feel for you because I am in the same boat. My husband has not held an insurance job for about 6 months being paid commissions, it just wasn’t helping. I tried to encourage him to look for something else but this would bring so much tension the house could not contain the both of us. I’m also pursing a career in nursing. You already have a scholarship and you have children. Don’t throw away this dream, he isn’t supporting you and your children. The way I see it, they just have a physical father. You’re indeed the father and mother of those kids.

      If you husband wants a loan let him apply for it himself, he should not involve you one bit in this. I decided that not even my husband is going to take away my joy and dreams. All I do is keeping praying for him. At least he is now doing a CNA course and I thank God. Little by little we are moving forward. My only prayer now is for him to respect me and stop looking outside our marriage for ego boasting as he calls it. Keep strong and lets pray for each other. Libby

  8. Sheba says:

    (KENYA) Dear Brenda, Your story has moved me to respond to you as it is very similar to mine. My husband of 3 years kicked my son and I out of his (family) home 6 months ago after a disagreement. When we first met, he was eager to contribute to the upkeep of the family even though he didn’t earn much. I believed that we could struggle to build our family together and that things would get better if I was patient and supported him. I bore most of the expenses in an effort not to stress him further as his business was struggling. However, after our some was born, my husband became comfortable with my regular salary and gradually reduced his financial contribution to practically zero. After a long while of struggling on my own, I eventually pleaded for his help. He made many promises, apologies, and a few attempts to contribute regularly but sooner or later after seeing that I had calmed down he would slide back into complacency.

    As all this was happening, we were living with his family who I had to feed while they did all they could to frustrate me. His mother particularly constantly interfered with our relationship and caused me tonnes of grief. My pleas to my husband to intervene and stand up for me were met with weak responses of ‘I don’t know how to do that.’ I have had to fight all my battles with my in laws (and there are many) by myself. When his mother eventually saw that I would not submit to her control, she and her daughters moved out and then launched an an all-out attack on my reputation, spreading lies to the neighbors about me, interfering with my live in nanny so as to cause her to quit so I would have to skip going to work (as I didn’t have anyone to watch my son as I worked) and so much more.

    My husband eventually got to the point where he would spend the food money to buy himself and his friends alcohol and was not remorseful about it. Eventually I think he decided it was too much work to be a man and take care of his responsibilities as father and husband and kicked us out with almost nothing to our names but our clothes, my son’s bed and chest of drawers, kitchen utensils and my books.

    My parents were gracious enough to house my son and I and for the first 5 months. I was in so much pain. After crying out to God I started praying for reconciliation and contacted my husband. It would go well for a few days then would degenerate into fights and he has broken the reconciliation process off twice. Recently, during a phase when we were on (sort of) good terms, he asked for a soft loan which I went out of my way to give. After he returned the money (without as much as a thanks you) he proceeded to be very rude to me on the phone. That was the day I decided that I HAD HAD ENOUGH.

    Since then I have stopped making contact with him and have accepted raising my son by myself. He has been texting from time to time to inquire about his son, but does not send any financial support for his son, yet he is working. I don’t respond to his texts as I feel it is manipulation and I am so tired of the pain. I daily ask God to heal my heart and take away my pain and bitterness from all this.

    But what I want to really tell you is that through it all, God has been very gracious to me. He has not left my son and I alone. My son and I have a comfortable place to stay (at my parents), which provides my son with a loving environment to grow in. I am trusting God to move into our own place in a few months and God has been faithful in providing the finances to start getting the stuff we need for our new home. On top of that, God blessed me with a new job at my dream firm with better pay, and full medical insurance for my son and I. He has also during this separation made it possible for me to purchase a small plot of land, which I hope in the future to sell and it will help to provide for my son and I in the future. What I am trying to say is that your separation did not catch God off guard and his plans for you are for good not for evil! He is in control.

    I want to encourage you not to let go of your dream to go to nursing school as you have to ‘keep it together’ for the sake of your children and for your own sanity. What I have learned from my experience is that when dealing with a passive man, the more you step up to the plate to take care of his responsibilities, the more you enable him to be irresponsible, and the more you ‘lose’ yourself. You’re not responsible for his actions, but you should not lose yourself, your dreams and the future of you and your children because your husband won’t take care of his responsibilities.

    I pray for you (as I am praying daily for myself) that God will heal our pain and help us to forget the past so that we will not be bitter women. As Cindy said, lets DUCK out of the way so God can deal with our spouses as He only knows best, and so that His will may be accomplished in our lives. Peace and blessings to you my sister. You will overcome!

  9. Sebongile says:

    (LESOTHO) I read this and wept, this is so much like my life. I am a wife who feels so much neglected because of work and many other sports commitments. I pray everyday that God would give me strength and understanding because it seems that is all I live for “UNDERSTANDING” and I hope one day it will be alright.

  10. Mariangely says:

    (UNITED STATES) Hi, I am 20 yrs old and my Husband is 21 yrs old and we have a beautiful baby girl. We been married for a year and nine months but we been together for 3 yrs and four months. He is in the army and has been stressed out due to the fact that he goes to work early in the morning and he is always being told what to do. And then comes back home and sometimes we argue or I tell him to take care of the baby while I do something. I know he is really tired and needs to rest. Sometimes he wants to go out and drink with his friends but I do not want him to go because it’s the only days we could spend time as a family and I am going to admit I kind of get a little scared something might happen while he is drunk and goes to another female.

    Now the thing that has me more worried is that he left on 9/23 and said that he needs some space. I asked why and he said that he was arguing with his own self. He wanted to stay but at the same time he wants to go and not come back. I love this man and I want my family to be together. Now it’s just my baby girl and me all alone in this big cold house. He said that this entire time he felt like he was on a leash. But he is willing to go to marriage therapy with me. I just do not know what to do now. I am really scared and want him back home with his family where he belongs. I do not want to lose him. I know we are young and this is why I am looking for someone’s advice. God bless and I’ll be praying for those of you that are going through problems with their marriage.

  11. Libby says:

    (USA) Wow! where to I begin, I met my husband in 2007 and we moved in together in 2009. We got married just before I migrated to the United States. Thankfully he joined me here in the US after a 18 month separation. In the beginning when I came to the US we would skype each other all the time. Then he started getting busy with his hobby of cycling and would sometimes say he is not able to come on Skype. I got concerned because with the distance and no communication, I felt that our relationship could end or suffer and we could become strangers.

    He moved here in the US and things were great. It could me my fault that I snooped on his phone and saw this crazy emails he and his “female friend” were sending each other. He never mentioned this friend to me. I later learnt that this friend was even at his going away party back in my home country meaning most people back home knew about her except for me. The emails were full of intimate stuff. When I confronted him he said that she is just a friend and that I making a big deal out of nothing.

    It has now been a year since she moved to the US but they are in constant communication. I am the one supporting him because he still doesn’t have a job. I feel so disrespected and sometimes just want to throw in the the towel and move on. I keep asking myself if this is really worth it. He has said it to my face that he is not gonna stop communicating with this woman. We have had arguments and it has a reached a point where it is so draining and just not worth talking about it.

    I talked to this woman and she stated that it’s my husband who insists on communicating with her that she means no harm but from their communication it seems like they had some affair while I was in the US. Once I told my husband I was going to talk to her and he wrote her and text message that went like this “CYI please forgive me, my wife is going to call and when she does tell her this.”

    I am being a fool supporting a man who is emotionally not available to me. When I ask him why he feels the need to communicate with this woman he says that whenever he looks around the house is mine, the car is mine, the food is bought by me that he feels his ego is bruised and feels the need to remove himself from this situation for a little while thus this communication.

    Someone please write an email with advice. I feel tired of holding this rock. He is not sorry about what this is doing to us. Instead he says I am allowing this situation that means nothing to take a toll on me.

    I am glad to be on this website because I do not have many friends to share this story with. His parents are here and his mother and I are close. I have tried to talk to his mother about it and they have tried talking to him but nothing doing. I feel like he is punishing me for being the provider. What happened to gratitude? -Libby

  12. Dennis says:

    (USA) (USA) So glad I found this website. I can relate to the pain the others have experienced because I am facing an unwanted separation as I write. My wife and I are both long time born again Christians, married 33 years, both 58 years old. Too much happened to us this year. And it has taken its toll. I had no clue, I admit. I just know I was overwhelmed by everything myself.

    Then one day my wife announced that she was leaving me as soon as she can afford to. What?!? No attempt to reconcile. It’s over. One day it has to do with my dad living with us (dementia) and the next day it is that I never loved her, I have been a lousy husband. I know that is not true. I get the silent treatment most of the time. I moved out of our bed to give her space. I sleep on the floor in another room.

    I am trying to win her back, but to no avail. I am trying to save this marriage alone. Many times they say this works. I am doing “The Love Dare” from the move Fireproof right now. My wife acts the same way the wife did in the movie. Only I do not have a boat fund to help her with. She will not even touch me, I am so repulsive to her.

    She also woke up one day a few months ago and decided she had no hormones and she wanted no man in her life. It looks like I cannot win. Hour by hour I wonder do I just let her go or do I try to keep her. I am unemployed right now and I cannot even focus on jub hunting.

    I even had a seizure while driving in September and went off the road and made a mess of a cemetery. (Thankfully everyone was already underground, so I didn’t hit anyone.) But anyway, I lost my license indefinitely. It makes it so much harder to find work and provide for your family.

    And I am looking at brain surgery to correct something in my brain. I am dizzy. But I trust the Lord, too. Too much is happening right now not to see His hand in it. He is doing a work in me. I just do not know if I will be able to be a better husband with my wife, if she is adamant about leaving. Or if the Lord just wants us to move on. Somehow I find that hard to believe.

    I just cannot control what my wife does. Everything is so painful and overwhelming right now. I used to have her loving support at such times. Today -I am alone. I would never have expected that this could have happened. My wife is normally such a great Christian woman, but she has turned on me. Maybe separation will be a good thing.

    I know that I have made mistakes and have taken her for granted and assumed that marriage vows meant something. But I could have done better many times. But husbands and wives must learn to forgive each other, too. Thirty three years is a long time not to forgive stuff. My wife throws things in my face from 1978 still.

    I love my wife. I don’t want her to leave. I cannot believe the rock is in mid-air being dropped. And she feels justified and leaving me does not bother her a bit morally. I am a mess. Do I just let her go or keep trying to save this marriage?

    • Eric says:

      (CANADA) My heart goes out to you, Dennis. I don’t know what to say. I feel for you. It’s hard, and takes every bit of strength sometimes to just get up, and not blame yourself for something you can’t even figure out. Being breakable comes at the price that sometimes you break, even when you are the man. If I knew you, I would pat your shoulder right now, so consider it done. Friends come from odd places sometimes. I have been there with losing my wife recently too, with being told she didn’t want me or maybe even not the kids. It’s still raw and new and I don’t know what she will want from one day to the next.

      I have spent the last 12 years trying to nurture something that was always missing for me, something I never really put my finger on, maybe it has been a feeling of union and mutual love, a kiss on the lips or offer to hold my hand, something I have not had in many years- something that I hoped would some day be a part of life. I am told there is nothing I can do, and my prayers somehow reflect on that too. I just don’t know how to turn it around either, and try to make something beautiful out of it.

      I hope you too find the strength to continue to try and find your peace as a good man who still has love for others. What else is there? In any case, you’ll be in my prayers tonight. The list is long, and happily full with those of us who need His help. My best to you my unknown friend, and kindness to you always. Eric

  13. Eric says:

    (CANADA) I recently dropped my rock. I have lost 20 pounds. My heart is broken and my body tired. I am trying to build myself up. My 3 and 9 year olds are suffering. My best friend and wife decided she needed space and to be herself again after 12 years of marriage. She got pierced, tatooed and changed her hair and eye color. I don’t understand any of it. I have carried the rock for a long time. Fed the babies at night, fed them at supper, changed diapers and worked as a professional during the day. I carried the rock to and from home. I slept with the rock in a bunkbed because my wife felt it was too big for her bed and not big enough to share with me.

    I still love my wife. I still honor my vows despite that the ring is gone. I pray to God each night, and now when I am able to tuck my kids in I sing my prayers with them. I miss tucking them in the rest of the time and praying each and every night with them like I used to. I am told I am a really good man, and super guy, a great dad. But I don’t feel loved… only brokeness and tiredness from the rock.

    Please tell me that things will be ok. Please tell me that if and when this gets better, someone else won’t come along and hand me a second rock to carry, or even worse make my kids carry too. Please tell me God is hearing my prayers, my request for forgivemess for whatever was done, and love and protection for my kids. Please tell me I’m not alone. Take care and to all you who have carried this rock; I get it. I understand and my prayers go out to you.

    • Jenny says:

      (USA) To Dennis and Eric, I’m not in your situation but I empathize with your comments and just prayed for both of you. If I may be bold, I’d like to recommend some resources that may help you: A Lasting Promise: A Christian Guide to Fighting for Your Marriage by Scott Stanley and Daniel Trathen; The Power of a Praying® Husband and Praying Through the Deeper Issues of Marriage both by Stormie Omartian.

      I have read/prayed through the companion volume, The Power of a Praying® Wife and have found it very helpful. It encourages us to start with ourselves, even if we are very angry at God or our spouse.

      A Lasting Promise has some very practical tips on communication, and also includes some suggestions for prayer. I know Dr. Trathen and he is very wise and compassionate. FYI, he also does phone counseling if that would be of help to you.

      It sounds trite, but I think the best advice and hope is to keep praying. Yes, even on those days when you are so mad you could just spit nails. God can take it, and He will still love you.

      • Eric says:

        (CANADA) Thank you Jenny. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your prayers. My wife has read The Power of a Praying Wife a long time ago. I am doubtful it has helped her. I am reading other books, seeing a private counselor and have joined a support group for men who have been in abusive marriages. I am going back to my house permanently tonight as my kids are still having a hard time with what goes on there when I am not. My wife has agreed to leave the home, thankfully that prayer is being answered by God. Praise him. I praise him.

        This news brings tears in my eyes out of happiness as I write. My 9 year old will be able to talk to someone tonight about the emtional damage he has suffered as well. My pastor will be meeting with us this evening. I am not angry, and thankfully that is not in my heart, I have not felt it, only grief and loss. There is only room for peace and hope as I will try to move forward. Thank you again.

  14. Anthony says:

    (USA) I am in what seems just about everyones situation. I started off the marriage with a host of bad decisions. Throughout the six year marriage I came back from time to time to hold the rock but then left again. Three months ago she decided it was totally over. She says she has no more feelings for me.

    I had my coming to Jesus moment and I truly truly changed. She even told me she sees a new me but it’s just too late. I have been wrongfully smothering her and trying to profess my new found truth, love, support, life but with no impact. I am in the military stationed overseas. We are in the same house, but it’s just sad. We don’t argue over anything but me wishing she would love me again.

    I know I can’t dictate how long it takes her to regain her trust in me. To see and love the changes about me enough to give me another chance. We have times where we are real happy hanging out and it almost seems like the good ol’ days but then the next day it’s like, um validation from her we are still separated. ARE THERE ANY POSITIVE STORIES from people who have been in this situation AND RECOVERED?? Help, I’m lost!

  15. Military wife Suzanne says:

    (USA) The parable about the rock related to marriage is very well written. Thank you for writing it. The statement that, “You love them in your heart but not your schedule.” describes our situation exactly. We’re a military family. We have 23 years in it. I’m a military spouse. We have a farm and a 10 year old son with emotional problems from his early years before we adopted him.

    My husband loves being a soldier. I admire him for that. He is an amazing man. He does so much for everyone. He has a heart of gold. He’s so stretched with his job. He lives 11 hours away from us. Visits home are very few. It’s so far to drive. When he’s home, there are so many chores that need to be done by him that the visit is too rushed to have any type of family time. When we go to church, he’s exhausted and falls asleep. That’s embarrassing. On him time off, weekends or evenings, quite often he’s out having fun.

    I quit my job in 2008 with the thought of going back to work after a few years. I couldn’t juggle a child, the farm and animals, and my job. I haven’t found a decent job since 2008. We’ve struggled financially. I moved away from home, filed for divorce and then we cancelled the divorce a few days after so it didn’t finalize.

    The military has family groups but ours is 11 hours away. No family group around. People admire the soldiers and thank them for their service but not many families are thanked. The poor children go without parents and have one parent that is exhausted from having to be both parents. They go without the extra curricular activities due to time constraints or costs. I try not to complain but I’m exhausted. Much money goes to repairs that my husband could handle but cannot due to the separation of distance.

    Many vehicles are down and the old house roof needs repaired. Our son needs a man in his life. I need some down time. We’re supposed to attend a Military Ball in May but I don’t want to attend. It’s such a juggle and a struggle to have every thing taken care of in my absence, find child care, pet care, arrange for the flight and the hotel. We can’t afford it. I don’t know if my little car will make the hour’s drive to the airport.

    My husband is very close to his military group and they become his second family. I’m grateful for this because they need to work together for safety and emotinal security. He has a group to help him. I’m alone. I don’t want to attend the event because I’ve become an angry, sad and bitter woman. I look exhausted and much older than I am. I’m so tired of being a military wife. I’ve been though 4 deployments and many other devastating events because my husband wants to be there for everyone.

    I have held this bolder for many years. I’ve dropped it and picked it back up after our reconciliation. Our church is celebrating anniversaries this month and I didn’t say anything about ours because he isn’t here to celebrate it and even if he were, he would fall asleep during the service. He surely wouldn’t fall asleep during a briefing but finds it perfectly ok during church service. I wouldn’t fall asleep during a military event. I told him to hire an escort to go to the event. A little humor in this mess.

    Recently, our house became so messy. I’ve straightened the living room area and outside looks nice. It’s similar to looking at us. Outside we look nice, a bit ragged but clean and nice. My bedroom is a mess. The kitchen is clean, the laundry is done and the bathrooms are clean and our son is fed and well taken care of. I’m so depressed. My doctor prescribed an anti-depressant but I’m afraid to take it because of the side effects that others have described. That would be terrible to feel worse due to a prescription.

    The military should have satellite family support groups for those of us who don’t fit in or are away from our spouses. There are camps we can attend but again, it’s the juggle and struggle with school, job and farm and the car is in bad shape.

    If you’re a soldier, please, please please, pay a bit more attention to your spouse, children and family. Put your family in your schedule. If you’re a military leader, please stress family time and mean it. Check in on families and be sincere. A soldier’s support is the spouse and family. Without them, they can get distracted.

    I’m very random here. Thank you for the well written parable and life lesson. It really made sense and gave me perspective. Others are holding their rocks too. Your lesson will make me a better person. What rock is my husband holding? I try to see the positive in everthing but I’m tired of doing it all by myself. I have so much to do and so much to write.

  16. Di says:

    (USA) I met my husband in 1979, had a child in 1985 and got married 1992. Years went by and slowly he started forgetting birthdays. We used to celebrate all the holidays together but that slowly changed. He started being distant; he helped me start a business, which he seemed to be happy about and very supportive. However, in 2005 I found out he had another child that was born 1995. I forgave but it was never the same; he seemed to be sorry but he became more distant. Finally he went from bad to worse with habits, drinking, gambling and watching porn movies. He just seemed angry all the time.

    I gave my life to the Lord and my daughter did also; his job always took him out of town for months and he wasn’t around a lot to even work on our marriage. Then it seems he really didn’t want to. Yes I believe it’s not all his fault; there are things I should have not allowed in the beginning. Now we are separated and he left saying he didn’t want to do this anymore. We are still in contact; he will text to see if he has some mail since he didn’t change his mailing address. Some of his work checks still come here but he doesn’t pick up any of the financial responsibility. I know he will help if I ask. I know he cares and I do want my marriage to work, but he seems happy now so I guess I need to learn how to move on.

  17. Tracey from United States says:

    I am so tired of holding OUR rocks!!! I can barely see as I type for the tears in my eyes. I am so tired, I just want to ball up and sleep until it all goes away, but my kids need me so I can’t. What is really making me angry at this point is that if I keep my vows I made before God (even tho I knew I shouldn’t have), he can “change” again or not, I am still here…unless *I* break MY vow. Why would he leave? All of his fun time would… well, maybe not… I’d have the kids, he’d have all the time in the world to do whatever. But my KIDS…the few “daddy” moments I do see them sparkle (when he is home and when he gives them the time) will be gone! But they don’t even get “mommy” moments now even with me there alllllll the time with them b/c I am so busy, tired, worn because HE IS NOT THERE WITH US… and if he IS home he hides outside drinking & smoking so the kids won’t see.

    God, I am tired, please help me! I do not want a broken home, I do not want my kids to go through this, I will suffer to the ends of time to prevent it… but if I can’t function to take care of them anymore and I am forced to leave, what do I do? I can’t have both… and it hurts so bad! I don’t know what to do. It has been the same argument for the 13 years we have been together… and I am *so* blessed to have my kids, but I am so sorry to have brought them into such an emotionally one-sided family with a dad who loves us on his time. He may not be hitting the bars or single-friends houses like he did the first 7 years we were together, but now he goes “just down the road” to my boss’s house and drinks & relaxes while I stay home with 3 kids RIGHT after I get home from my job.

    He spends his “hard-earned” second job money on beer & cigs & toys…and he gets mad b/c I tell him all that money he sweats for is pointless and I don’t feel bad for him working in the sun b/c it benefits no one but himself!!! If he quit the second hard job we’d have more money (less expense to drive & eat!) and more time and he’d be happier. When he IS home he is barking orders to clean the house (I can’t keep it OCD clean for him with 3 kids, a FT job, and a 2.5 hour daily drive!) …and once he “put the kids up” he takes of drinking at their house AGAIN…or he expects me to be ready to *love* him (even expects ME to make the first moves like I am overcome with wanton passion for him! ha!). Seriously?!? I don’t even want him to touch me! Every time he is near me he either gropes me jokingly (which is SO annoying and not a playful turn on at ALL!), or he starts setting up “momma daddy time”…when all I want is to use the bathroom with the door closed in peace and take a shower for the first time in 3-6 days (because he hasn’t been HOME to watch the kids!).

    So many emotions, I could vent for hours on here. I have made him write them down so I KNEW he knew what was bothering me, what EXACTLY would help me, what hurts me. I’ve tried carrying on as if I didnt need him, I’ve tried NOT doing what he expected to see if he’d notice. All it does is either set him off b/c something isn’t done his way or if it is done, he acts like he has more free time to do what he wants to do. When I ask for a shower after it’s been 3 or so days, he tells me to get the 11 y/o to watch the 3 y/o while the 9 y/o runs around and tears into everything b/c he is unsupervised (then I get in trouble for that mess, too!)…he just wants something to DO. We live ON A LAKE. Dad can’t even take them fishing more than once a summer b/c he’s too busy making up excuses or purposely taking too much time to do stuff until the rain comes or it’s too hot, or making us all clean until E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. is perfect (yes, including the baseboards!) before he can “relax” enough to go fishing… but he can leave almost every night to “relax” with beer at MY boss’s!?!?

    If it wasn’t for me hanging on to my side of my promise to God and my kids, I would be gone. I have packed his crap for him before (why should the kids and I leave? he’s the one who keeps leaving!). Some times I even think about what would happen if I died (I’m too chicken for suicide!). But I hurt so bad for my kids then! That scares me, I know that is unhealthy. But do I leave, do I stay? I am too tired to pray, I just want it done and to move on, maybe the kids and I can still have our happy “Disney” life when Mr. OCD-busy-beer is out of the way. I seriously need some prayer, I’m just too tired to do it myself. I don’t freakin’ care.

  18. Flutter from United States says:

    I never, ever thought this would happen to me. I was raised to be be strong, independent – but traditional. Marriage was for keeps. I thought I knew what I was doing; that I made a good decision, chose the right man. We did sickness and in health. Everyone has the no money stage. Wrongly, I put up with too much early on that allowed him to be a virtual adolescent forever.

    We weathered it all until children, planned and wanted, started to leave the nest. Then the futility of it all crushed me. The rock actually grew and not only did he not see the rock, guess its weight and want to make up for it, he actively told me I DID NOT GIVE HIM enough. Not wanting to be the walkaway wife–I told him clearly my needs, went to therapy alone, hoped and believed a hundred more times that this time he meant it.

    Ask me one responsibility that I did not take care of, of all the million little things there are to do in raising a family and having a marriage, ask me which ones were not MY sole responsibility, yet ‘I didn’t give enough’. I even like sex more than him so he was denied nothing. He is flat out mentally ill but refuses to deal with it. The rock dropped. We will file. Yet, he has the audacity to be extremely angry with me because I blame him for not trying. I tried and succeeded for 20 years of rock holding, plus 3 more of waiting for improvement…I’m done. Time served.

  19. Sara from United States says:

    I married my husband twice. The first marriage was 24 years; we lived together for three to be sure we were doing the right thing before remarrying last year. Less than three months into the marriage he contacted an old girlfriend from junior high – I know – junior high, on Thanksgiving while I blindly served dinner to our children and his family. The next day he initiated contact with his best friend’s wife to help her through her marriage separation; a month of texts behind my back.

    He apologized, was kind for a month, took up skydiving (it was a different hobby for the other years that left the family alone) and left me with the rock just like the first 20 years. I just emptied an account that was intended for a new house into my checking account tonight because I can tell there is no intent to be a team, no respect, no adoration, no hope, and definitely no house. Every time I find one I love, he hates it. I give up.

    I used to worry about what everyone would think, ruining our family. I’m young enough that life will go on. I don’t know what’s ahead of me, but it won’t be feeling marginalized because someone else puts his needs first and expects me to put them first as well.

  20. Paul David from United States says:

    Here’s the thing. My wife wants to separate. She says that it is to try to heal away from me. She cheated on me and I think she is having a mid-life crisis at age 37, and I think she is just trying to soft-blow a divorce. I have been forgiving and was a loving, caring, kind husband throughout our whole marriage. Neither of us believed in marriage and had the same view on everything regarding marriage. She started hanging out with an immoral woman last year and that is who taught her the art of cheating. She has now changed her mind on Adultery, Divorce – everything – and denies ever having though the correct way.

    Sometimes it is not a rock-crushing. Sometimes it is someone who just re-writes their own Bible and lives for the flesh. She does not want to hear anything biblical and believes that you can just conspire to destroy a marriage, ask for forgiveness and like a big reset button, everything is good in the world.

    Here’s where I am at. I love her. I dislike how she did me and dislike how she is currently in denial, brainwashed and has re-written history. ALL of our friends think she is nuts. Her family thinks she is nuts and wrecking my life, her life and our children’s lives. What I cannot even fathom or get past is that, if she does divorce me, I will miss half of the rest of my children’s childhoods. How can I get past that? I can’t.

    ANYONE who divorces any decent, repentant, loving, person who loves their spouse and their children is a child-abusing disgrace of a parent. Sure there are reasons for divorce – but divorcing someone who has done no wrong is a disgrace and makes a person a VERY BAD PARENT.

    I hope my kids end up despising her. She will deserve it. I do not want revenge – but I do want accountability.
    I pray that she reconciles and I have faith that God can work miracles – but he is not going to force her to be a good person and to embrace His Will. She is being tempted by the Devil and if she chooses Satan’s Path – one can only hope that they are so miserable in their sin that they hit rock bottom and are forced to turn their life over to God.

  21. Heartbroken from South Africa says:

    Wow Paul, I love your explanation and the order and justification of sin.
    1. Willingly destroy a marriage
    2. Ask for forgiveness
    3. Just hit the reset button and live happily ever after.

    This certainly has been the understanding of my ex-husband. He has got just what he wanted leaving a path of destruction, financial ruin and a broken family behind. I put my future and our children in God’s loving arms. God will take care of the rest.

  22. Hurt & Angry from United States says:

    Well where to start… I have known my husband since he was in 7th grade, got with him in his junior year back in 92′. As the relationship went on I was physically abused and tried to break it off but was naive and scared. We were 17 and 19. Then I got pregnant in 92, had my son in 93.. In between I was emotionally and physically abused along with cheating… not to mention isolated from my family for many years. I felt very scared to leave at that time, as well.

    Then my daughter was born in 95′. Then in May of 95′ we decided to get married because of child support (which I did not want to but did because I was to scared to stand up for myself). Everything continued. He was so controlling and abusive and unfaithful. Then in 98′ we went to church because we were to the point of ending it. I was happy because I thought this would be it, he would change and I would learn to become a better wife because he would tell me degrading things.

    But I was wrong! We got saved, which was good. Then he started helping with the youth group and started knowing youth. At this time he was 23. He was always into music, very talented out going, the center of attention so it was easy for him to talk. I was totally opposite.

    Then he formed a worship band, which I thought it was great because this was for God. In this band he brought in two girls that were cousins. Well, as time passed we continued to have the same problems. I hid them because I was ashamed that here we were in church doing the Christian thing. One day when we argued he got violent, then left the house and ended up with one of the girls in a parking lot trying to make her feel sorry for him and tried to hit on her. But she said no, then called a youth leader. I took him back… Then he continued with this worship music ministry with the other cousin. He did the same thing but worse because they had an affair for 3 years.

    I was so blinded and naive! I would believe everything he said! She would be with us just about every day. I didn’t see it! I found out and went to a pastor. He got confronted and was told to step down from worship. He was blaming me for telling. The church sent us to counseling, which we never completed. Then he got involved again with ministry had another affair. I forgave again. We moved to another state because he was going to help build a church. He was the worship leader. During that time he was having young girls go there for different reasons like fling his music ect… (which I didn’t find until later). I thought he was changed.

    The church let him go for a different reason, but there was a girl that played the piano for him. My family got to know her very well. I always would argue with him about her being around our family but somehow he controlled again and made me feel like I was the crazy one for not trusting him. Well, during the 6 years he “took her under his wing” I never knew about this until 2 days ago that he was controlling and used manipulation with her all these years. She thought he would change and was protecting my family by not saying anything. She couldnt take it anymore because she came to my house everyday to write music with him and my son and did ministry with them. Even with him knowing what he did with her he pushed for my son to date her. My son did for a year and 2 months (during that relationship he left her alone, but tried controlling the relationship …my son could never please him). Now how messed up is that?!!!

    After my son broke up with her my husband tried to get that “friendship back”… right under my nose. I feel so angry because time after time I would confront him and he would really make me believe him, that he was faithful to me! Now how stupid could I have been? Honestly, I really believed him! So much hurt he has caused not only for me, BUT my children!

    Oh, I forgot to mention I guess I would believe him because he would do worship concerts. We prayed for people, etc. And now I see he would use spiritual manipulation as well! So much more he did that I would have to sit and think about each year! I now see I was nothing BUT GOOD TO HIM, EVEN WHEN HE ACCUSED ME ABOUT IT INFINITELY! 21 years of his selfishness, then he has the nerve to say “There is still hope”… And “I love you.” God forgive me, but I hate him! I hurt! I want a divorce. My son is hurt too!

    • Cindy Wright from United States says:

      Dear Hurt and Angry, I have been praying for you, asking God how to reply to your comment. The immediate thing that I’ve felt impressed to do is to take you in my heart and hug you –even though I can’t do that physically. I do in my heart, though. It’s absolutely understandable why you would be “hurt and angry”… what sane person wouldn’t be? Unfaithfulness horribly tears at the heart of the spouse who has been betrayed. And then to have it happen over and over again after you’ve forgiven and have given grace? How heart-breaking! I’m so, so sorry for the pain you’ve experienced and the confusion and anger you are going through –not only for what your husband has done to you, but also to your children… so, so, horrible.

      As far as what you can do at this point –truly I can’t tell you –no human being can. That is something between you and God. What’s especially bad about all of this is that your husband engaged in the “Christian dance” –going through the mouth-service and the outward appearance as if he was a follower of Christ, and but he prostituted and defiled the Truth with those that he charmed into having sex with him–so shameful! God will certainly judge him on this. How I pray this doesn’t damage your faith. GOD didn’t do this to you, your husband did. He took the free will that is given to us all and he ran in a sinful direction. You might think, “then why didn’t God stop him or do more to protect me?” Remember, we live in a fallen world… God doesn’t put us on strings like puppets and then yank or snip off the strings when we do that which we shouldn’t. He tells us “He will repay” when we sin, but that “payment” may or may not be given at the present time. It’s all very complicated, but real. Your husband WILL be repaid for the harm he did to you, your children, His other children, the church, and His Holy Name.

      With that said, I encourage you to guard your heart from bitterness –do what you can to work through your anger in ways that doesn’t involve swallowing bitterness –to the degree that you can. We have the topic, “Bitterness and Forgiveness” that I recommend you read through (more than once, if it helps you). Fight against taking bitterness in, because the one that it will most hurt is YOU. Also, don’t dump out your thoughts and words upon your children, speaking bad about their father. Yes, their father did horrible things, and yes, they have every right to be angry and work this out with him, but please find another or other confidants to talk to as far as working through your feelings. Your children have enough to work through with their dad and what all this means to them. They may need YOU as a confidant, and certainly should be able to get comfort from you for their hurt feelings and confusion. But be careful about trashing their dad and giving them additional information that they don’t need to know. Please be careful. If they have questions, have them talk to their father. I really think that you need a good counselor to work through all of this –one who can help your whole family. This is a LOT to process on your own.

      And then where this all goes with your husband, I can’t tell you. Yes, you have the “right” to divorce, but please seek God to make sure that you should. I know this seems contradictory, but just because you CAN divorce, it doesn’t mean that you SHOULD. Do some praying, go to a good counselor and/or pastor and talk this through and then with God’s guidance YOU decide what to do. Your husband is not to drive this. He has already driven too much, doing too much damage already. He needs help, deep, deep help. He has played the part of a deceiver and can’t be trusted. He obviously knows how to charm with his words and actions. He obviously has no “check” on his conscience because he has ignored the promptings of God over and over again, or he wouldn’t have done what he did.

      IF you get back with him, please don’t trust him as far as you can throw him. Insist on family counseling to try to heal your heart, your children’s hearts, and his darkened heart. What goes on in a person’s heart to get them to the place where they think this kind of cheating is okay for him — ESPECIALLY when he’s singing the “praises” of Christ? He shouldn’t ever be in another worship band (unless it is ONLY an all-male one, and even then… I’m not thinking it’s wise). He would also need an accountability partner. Left on his own, he is manipulative and has no sense of right and wrong. And then for yourself, don’t be so naive. There is a difference between forgiving someone and extending grace, and TRUSTING them. Your husband has shown he isn’t trustworthy. To me, he would have to jump through so many hoops to prove himself everyday. And he should be willing to do so. He has shown himself to be a serial cheater and so he has a lot to prove to deserve ANY form of trust.

      Please know that this is not about you. You did not MAKE your husband cheat. He did that. BUT IN THE FUTURE, don’t trust him and be skeptical about what he says. MAKE him prove himself. I do know that some serial cheaters ARE able to change their ways. Look at the guy from Duck Dynasty. He (and a few others) have been able to completely change. But also know that this is rare –very, very rare. Something real has to change inside of them and only time and out front actions show if this could happen to that kind of deceiver. I could go on and on, but I know that we have a lot posted on this web site that could be more helpful with links to articles, web sites, and recommended resources that would be better for you to go through. I pray for you. My heart breaks for you and your family. I pray the Lord helps you to break free from the bitterness that will try to suffocate you. I pray you will be wise and have your eyes open to deceit around you. I pray God will help you and your children to heal. This will affect all of you for the rest of your lives. I pray good for you. I also pray for your husband –that he gets real and gets help so he doesn’t continue this abusive pattern and stops hurting others. I pray he eventually sees the full gravity of all the hurt he has caused and spends his life trying to do what he can to bring healing to those that he can –NOT false comfort, but genuine repentance, genuine living, becoming a man of integrity instead of darkness and deceit. I especially pray for you as a family –that the God of all comfort will help you to heal.

  23. Jorge from United States says:

    I just got separated on 9/9/13. In 2009 I had an affair, left the house for about 4 months. I thank God that He touched me and reminded me of where my love really was and went back. During that same time, as payback, my wife spent the night with another man. Here we are 4 years later the evening of 9/9. My kids and I got confirmation that my wife was having an affair. The man’s wife called me to tell me. I left the house. Ever since then I have been praying for God to restore our marriage, our family. I am 40; my wife is 42. We have 5 wonderful children and a beautiful 8 month old granddaughter. We have been together for 11 years, married for 7.5.

    My children have seen her transform from a wonderful wife and mother to an 18 year old girl. I have tried to stand firm, be paitent but it is as if she is in a race. She has already filed for divorce. We have our divorce court on 12/4, just 3 months after. I have heard excuses from I wasn’t good to our step kids, I was controlling with her, to I was mean to her sisters, to I looked at women.

    Now, she is saying that it happened because of what I did 4 years ago. My step kids and I get along great, I see my grandaughter as much as possible, take her to church with me (keep in mind she is not my blood grandfather). They are actually testifying for me on my behalf in a restraining order case she put on me. I didn’t like her sisters, she says, because I didn’t like lending them money. This is where the controlling part comes in. We were always in a financial strain, paying rent late, taking out pay day loans, advances from banks, hardship withdrawals from our 401k. So yes, I did control the money and I didn’t like lending any out because we didn’t have enough for us, much less to lend out. As fas a looking at women, I learned to control myself last November and even then, I didn’t do it to the point she said but I still had to walk with my head down just to avoid problems and accusations.

    I have come to the conclusion that restoration is not for everyone. After the affair with the married man, she says it was only emotional. She told my daughter that she was now talking to someone new, someone younger. There has been no repentance, no looking back. She is moving into a smaller place, traded our minivan for an Altima and then decided to tint the windows and put a sound system in it. Because of the restraining order she put on me, I have had to get an attorney. I warned not to let it get that far because if the kids were called as witnesses it would not go well for her. She has anger issues, prone to verbal abuse, and physical abuse. I have never hit my wife. I have never even called her a name.

    • Paul David from United States says:

      My separation has turned to her filing for divorce on me. Of course, she blames me for everything. This has been going on for a year now and I feel sorry for my kids, but I know that if we had no kids, I would have tossed her out long ago.

      I’m starting to take a more biblical approach to the whole thing. I have definitely sinned and have not been a perfect husband, and I am repentant for all that I have done. I also forgive her for all that she has done. I also forgive her for her trying to turn everything around on me. I now realize that she is sorry for her adultery –but only for getting caught. She blames me also for her adultery. She is constantly bearing false witness against me and I just have to remember simply this: This is not about this earth –this is about eternity. When I stand before God, I will be fully confident that I have repented for my sins and sought reconciliation with every fiber of my being. Ever since she dropped the bomb on me (next week will be one year) I have done everything in my power to repair our marriage –while all she did was agree to ‘stay’ and blame me for everything she could twist around.

      Truth be told, she will have a very rough time at judgment day. She may be able to fool our MC and fool a few of her friends and family –but she will not fool God and she will answer for choosing a life of the flesh over God’s Will. In a way I feel sorry for her, because I could not get through to her. The mistake I made was trying to work on our marriage over the last year. She took it as pressuring her. She would tell our MC that I pressure her all the time to read the bible and to read relationship books and then, in the next sentence, tell the marriage counselor that we are getting along in the house because we don’t deal with anything. But, I tried to explain Jesus’s ministry of reconciliation and how God put us through this trial to draw us closer to him and closer to each other. Sadly, I failed as the spiritual leader of our household.

      I also know that my kids will suffer. I haven’t told them anything, but daily they see their mom be cold to their dad for almost a year now. My son is old enough to know what is going on and my daughter pretty much knows what is going on. She tells her friends that I brainwash the kids –but all I ever do is make excuses for her and tell them that I love her. They will suffer through and after our divorce –even though I am going through it with God’s required love for my enemy. Reading Wallerstein’s study is enough to make anyone with half of a heart for their children to reconsider divorce –and that is one book she REFUSED to read. My kids will suffer in this life, but hopefully, I’ve established a Christian basis in my children’s lives that they realize that the suffering is part of this world and they will not have to worry about that in eternity.

      It is sad though. A year and a half ago, we were as happy as could be. Sure, there were wear marks on the outside –after 14-15 years of marriage and 17-18 years of being together. What I realized is this: Spiritual warfare is REAL. The Devil works harder at destroying marriages than any other temptation. When people don’t realize that there is spiritual warfare, Satan ends up owning them and fills their head with denial and justifications and excuses to the point of them completely rationalizing everything they’ve done or about to do.

      What can you do? Pray. How do we stop this as a society? We need to take a stand against it. If my children ever do this to their spouse, they will be disowned. If a friend does this to their spouse, they are no longer friends. If someone in church does it, study Matthew 18:15-17 and let them change their ways or ex-communicate them.

      Ironically, a year and a half ago, my wife was more staunchly against divorce or people doing this to their family than I was. It’s amazing how some of the most Christian conservative people can turn into ethical and moral relativists –just to excuse their actions.

      And in all honesty, a few of her friends (who thinks she is off the deep end) and I know what the essence of the problem is. When she had the affair, it was with a younger, hotter guy. She had those butterflies that we had together 18 years ago. Well, he dumped her because he felt guilty (and the truth was, he was just done ‘hitting the married chick’) and she chased him and he broke her heart. Now, she is searching for that feeling again. Searching for those lust-filled feelings that she confused for love –and something she’ll never get with me –as, after 18 years, you’re pretty much stuck with Agape Love. She can’t even spell Agape Love.

      Pray for her. I’ll be ok. I will hurt more in the short run. She’ll hurt more in the long run. When our friends all look down on her and her kids can’t stand being around her and when the guilty feelings start coming back (EVERY Christian has a conscience!) and when she sees me being blessed and her life cursed or punished… and then when she has to stand before God and answer for what she has done.

      I have it easy. Just a little absolutely painful heartache and missing half of my children’s lives growing up. Neither choice is pretty –but I will take mine, any day.I pray she can turn it around. I will be there. Maybe. When I make a Vow, I take it seriously. She doesn’t, but I do.

  24. Jennifer from United States says:

    My husband and I have been married for 2 years and 4 months. He told me he wanted a separation from me right before Christmas. I’ve been living on my own in a townhouse. I thought we’d be living in together. I was completely blindsided. He told me that he needed for me to be on my own and I needed to grow up since I never lived on my own before we were married. We’re both 34 years old and we have known each other for 20 years. I had a lot of emotional issues and he got tired of coping with them; they were crushing him. We have technically been together for 8 years, we broke up in 2008 and got back together in 2010 and married in 2011. The issues that we had before cropped up again and now it’s even worse.

    I know that I really messed up again and I’m taking responsibility for what I did. I’ve been going to marriage counseling with our pastor that married us and see a psychologist for my anxiety issues. I am making good progress in the marriage counseling on how to be a more godly wife. But when I talked to my husband the other day, he says that our marriage was a mistake. We should have stayed friends and never married. I can’t describe how I felt. My heart drop to the floor. I still love him and I told him that I forgive him for anything and everything, that my forgiveness does not have a limit as what I have been learning with the pastor. And I told him that too.

    I know I hurt him a lot and I don’t deserve his forgiveness, but I am owning up to my wrongs, and I have asked for his forgiveness. I know that he may not, and he doesn’t understand that love forgives all things, that there is no limit if you love someone. He says he still cares for me and respects me, but he’s angry and he feels that I betrayed him.
    However, he also says he is still very attracted to me, despite everything.

    I’m praying to God every single day. I do not want my marriage to end and I don’t believe that God would put us together, only to pull us apart. We are together for a reason only known to God. And my husband seems determined that he’d rather be apart. He has been dealing with his own issues. He’s been disappointed in every area of his life the last few months, and he says that he doesn’t want to be stuck where he is for the rest of his life. And the only way to do that is to blow up everything and start all over. He thinks he’ll be happier that way and doesn’t want to drag me through it with him. I honestly think he’s having a mid life crisis and I can’t help him. He says he hates himself. He says he’ll talk to our pastor, but he’s very determined that this is what has to be.

    And on top of this, I’m going through some major health issues. And he’s aware of what is going on. He was taking notes on his phone the other day as I described them.

    I’m so confused. As I’ve said, I pray to God everyday. I want our marriage to survive and I told him that. I’ll do everything that’s possible to have out marriage survive. I’m not giving up hope, but it’s so hard to keep it when he says things like that. Please pray for me.

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